Page B1.1 . 16 March 2005                     
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    Doubly Transparent

    by John Durbrow, AIA

    Growing concern for occupant comfort and lower energy costs has led to a recent revolution in curtain wall design, primarily in Europe. Dynamic, double-skin walls that induce air movement between the layers of glass are replacing the static, sealed envelopes that have until recently characterized modern curtain walls.

    The new generation of glass wall is an active component of the heating, ventilation, and cooling (HVAC) system, bringing air tempering installations from the hidden central core to the building perimeter.

    The premise is simple and harkens back to low-energy ventilation systems that were common before architects and engineers embraced centralized thermal control. The air exchange patterns we're designing for today are like those created by Thomas Jefferson in the triple-hung windows of Monticello. Fresh, clean air is introduced low and exhausted high after absorbing heat and pollutants.

    The major technical evolution that brings these systems in line with modern design criteria is the automation of the monitoring and controls. Properly designed controls can respond immediately and locally to small variations in load without activating system-wide machinery. Individual comfort and energy efficiency become mutually supportive.   >>>

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    ArchWeek Image

    Inside the double-skin wall of Bayer Headquarters.
    Photo: Murphy/Jahn

    ArchWeek Image

    RCID in Orlando, by Murphy/Jahn.
    Photo: Peter Aaron, Esto

     

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